Comment vous appelez-vous? The name ‘Ralph’, the male organ, and other musings

…What’s in a name? that which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet…

So laments Shakespeare’s Juliet about the arbitrariness with which we assign things, and even people, names. Well you can’t blame the distressed damsel, it is frustrating indeed if the only reason you couldn’t hit the sack with your boyfriend is because he’s got a surname your folks do not want attached to theirs.

Juliet has a point. Indeed, names are just mere identifiers. Most things–and people–are not always as good as they are named. Food, for instance. Many dishes have fancy-sounding names, but once you try them you start to wonder whether giving them such names had been deliberate to make up for their less-than-fancy tastes.

I think people should take name-giving seriously. Whether it’s their laptops or teddy bears they are naming (as some girls I know are wont to do), or their own children, they should really take an effort to give well-thought-out names. I could never quite forget my classmate in first grade, Honey, who was unfortunate enough to be born into the rather humorous and mabaho surname of Potot. She was the constant subject of jokes in the school yard, and imagine how terrible her childhood must have been if she had to deal with all that teasing all the time. I myself have  suffered my fair share of name-related bullying as well, since my two-letter surname, when spoken out loud consecutively twice, is just the same as the slang term for the male organ in the vernacular.

And speaking of the male organ, LMAO, I’ve had the rather curious opportunity to get my hands once on a copy of Judy Blume’s controversial novel Forever. Blume really meant it to be Young Adult, but many censors, including the American Library Association, objected to its themes of teenage sex and pregnancy. The book’s virgin teenage protagonist in the book falls head over heels a swashbuckling skier who, among other things, initiates our heroine into the treacherous world of physical intimacy and calls his penis “Ralph”!

Well, I’d never thought before then that anyone could think of the name Ralph so lowly as to appropriate it to the male organ. And certainly, I’d never thought that people could and should give their penises–or any of their body parts for that matter–names! That’s just plain crazy! Besides, our body parts do not have a mind of their own…but on second thought, however, that particular male body part has indeed been known to act on its own accord LMAO! 😛

But anyways, I’ve always liked my name. I am forever grateful to my parents for not naming me a ‘John’ or a ‘Mark’, which, for me, are just about the dullest names you can give to a boy. Thank heavens my father didn’t also give me his “Apolonio” and make me the third in the family to be named atrociously so.

I’m one of those persons who are called by entirely different nicknames in their families. But in school and elsewhere I have always been known as Ralph. Only in second grade have I been called by my second name “Angelo”. In high school, I had to be called by Ralph plus my surname to differentiate me from the other Ralph in the batch.

You should know as much about your name as you can! It’s actually fun to know that the British pronounce my name as “Rafe”, and that the names ‘Raoul’ and ‘Raul’ are its French and Spanish variations . It is Germanic in origin, combined using the words rad, “counsel”, and wulf, “wolf”. If you want to know the etymology of your name, is a good place to start. If you are somewhat downtrodden and depressed, and has lost all hope in yourself, you can go check out and see what they have to say about the meaning of your name–the have a free “name and birth date report”, and the results you’ll get are always positive! I think it’s crackpot, though, because I’ve entered “Shite” and still came up with results. Do you honestly think people ever really named their kids “Shite”?

I wouldn’t have changed my name if I had the chance, but if I am to “reinvent” it I’d choose a different nickname. I’d like to be called “Ang” for a change, which are the first three letters of my second name anyway. I think it’s Zen and cool. Besides, my name’s too Anglo-Saxon already. It’s the only complaint I’ve got about my and my generation’s names–I don’t understand why our parents  gave us a whole bunch of Anglo-Saxon names!  It’s just too helplessly colonial-minded. If I ever become a Senator, I’d write a bill giving tax incentives to families and corporations who would give their children and products names in the national language.


3 thoughts on “Comment vous appelez-vous? The name ‘Ralph’, the male organ, and other musings

  1. I hope you were kidding when you wrote your last sentence. It’s a bit contradictory that you give importance in the act of giving proper names and yet you would also want to give incentive to people who would name their children/stuff in the national language. Not very nationalistic i know, but it’s not like the national language is always “proper” and would give a well thought-of sense when you’d like to name something/someone.

    Then again, it’s just “incentive”… haha.

  2. I meant that perhaps, being careful about giving names also entails looking into your cultural heritage for name inspirations! I don’t mean to intrude into people’s choices when I say I’d give incentives, I think I’m just actually widening their options 🙂

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